The Story Behind the Lens

It was the spring of 2010 and I held a brand new (to me) Canon T2i camera in my hand for the very first time.

And boy was I ecstatic.

My parents had just upgraded their camera, and I was the lucky one who would become so thankful for how this nearly $200 used and worn camera forever changed my life. And, if I’m being quite honest about it, as I sit here typing away and truly reflect on just how much it changed my life, I start to get a little bit emotional just thinking about it.

Whether or not my parents even considered just how much this single act of passing that T2i camera on down to me would change me or not, its impact on me would be profound. And I suppose that’s where it all started.

Well mostly.

There was this one time…

I distinctly remember holding onto a videocamera during one of my brother’s childhood birthday parties – his 4th birthday pops into my head – although, I’m not for sure that was the one. As I held this videocamera in my hand, I toured our home – with some additional (and unnecessary) commentary, I might add. The kitchen, the bathroom, my youngest brother’s nursery, the driveway, ending up in the garage with a silly comment from my Dad. I was one of those free-spirited, quirky, independent children. One of those who never left anything untouched and had to be “in the know.” My parents called me overbearing at times, I prefer “EXTRA engaged with my surroundings and those around me.” You know, like extra before extra was cool. 😉

(I’ll have to find this home video, and share it! But that’s a story for another time.)

Where was I?

I swear that same day I received that hand-me-down camera, my sister and I made plans to break that “bad boy” in! My sister was a senior at the time, and like most seniors, had just taken her Senior Portraits. So she was basically a model (and by her natural beauty, my goodness she should be!). And me, with my new camera in hand, well, I was the professional photographer. And there we went. The dynamic duo. We pulled our wardrobes together. We styled the perfect outfits for a beautiful spring day. We added a “pop” of color with some bright pink lips. And then we toured our tiny town of Arapahoe, looking for the most unique spots to photograph. And we had an absolute amazing time posing and practicing and practicing and posing until we ran out of laughs. When I got home, I felt so dang proud.

I went to school the next day feeling like I could conquer the world.

Feeling like I finally found my thing.

What I was good at. What I could become great at.

And after sharing these photos with my high school English teacher – her simple and sincere remark left me stunned.

I don’t remember word for word what she said – (it was something similar to “those look so professional!”). But I do remember seeing the awe in her eyes. I remember how astonished her voice sounded. I remember the impact it left on me. I remember leaving feeling like this, this was my thing.

And it took several years for this plan to unravel, and part of me believe it’s not finished unraveling, but it makes me so darn proud to say – that this is still is “my thing.”

-R